Large engines journey on barge almost to an end

MARQUETTE — Three large engines are currently working their way into the city of Marquette on a barge in Lake Superior.

Onlookers across Marquette may have noticed street closures near the Upper Harbor throughout the day. This is in part with the three engines that will be used for the expansion of the generation system with the Board of Power and Light in Marquette. Each one of the engines weighs three tons and all together will produce 50 megawatts of power.

These engines burn a versatile group of fuels, such as natural gases, fuel oil, or liquefied natural gas.

“For our use here in Marquette, it will provide a lot of back up generation, if the whole fire plant should not be able to run because of some difficulty and it always has to shut down for rehab in the summertime or early spring,” said Board of Light & Power Board Member, David Carlson.

These engines are the largest created by the Finnish company, wartsila and also the largest internal combustion engine in the entire world. The barge with these engines started in Italy and has worked its way to Escanaba, Sault Ste. Marie, and now it’s final stop of Marquette.

Although the engines were planned to dock on land this afternoon, the porting location was changed 50 feet north because of difficulties with the prior location.

“This spot had been looked at in the past and it seemed to be the best spot that we had, but just as a precaution they had a final check to see if the lake bed had changed and in fact it has a great deal,” said Carlson.

The new location is now getting wooden beams placed on the shore. Once all equipment is in place, the barge will bring the engines over and they will be rolled off the barge and eventually brought onto trucks to be transferred.

“We’ve not had anything like this in this part of the World that I know of, that you could see an engine of this size, it’s pretty special. Once it gets inside the building, we won’t see much of it again,” said Carlson.

This is a several day long process leading the possibility of road closures to continue throughout the weekend. If you haven’t gotten the chance to see the engines quite yet, the plan is to get them on the shore sometime tonight.